On March 5, 2019, the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hosted a hearing: “Vaccines Save Lives: What is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?” During the hearing, it was stated that the World Health Organization considers vaccine hesitancy to be one of the ten threats to global health in 2019. Vaccine hesitancy is defined by WHO as “the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines.”
Over the past several weeks, I have delved heavily into the topic of vaccines. I have consulted what some would consider “sources of misinformation.” The problem is, these sources often linked me to government documents, peer-reviewed studies, the vaccine inserts themselves, a supreme court case, a transcript from a 2000 senate meeting entitled: “FACA: Conflict of Interest and Vaccine Development,” and popular media articles – sources that are not necessarily anti-vaccination.
I have used many of the aforementioned resources to address just a few of the reasons I believe vaccine hesitancy is occurring and have included links to and excerpts of those sources. I also included some personal thoughts and conclusions, come to by basic reasoning, on why these sources, as well as people’s personal experiences, lead parents to become vaccine hesitant. It is my hope that this resource will provide clarity to the question at hand and, if possible, provide potential next steps.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert, nor scientist. I am a certified secondary English teacher and in the four years of my career, before I decided to stay home with my children, I taught hundreds of students how to research. I have two B.S. degrees and my M.A. in English. My graduate studies included a 500 level course entitled the History and Teaching of Rhetoric. I graduated from graduate school with a 4.0 GPA and was consistently on the Dean’s list. I have engaged in dozens of research projects, both academic and personal. I say this in order to establish my own credibility as an educated individual, capable of critical thought and research.
I have worked hard to try and reported all information correctly, with natural interpretation, and with minimal bias. Please excuse any spelling, grammar, or small errors, as I have written this in a short amount of time.
I have two young children. Up until this month, they both have been vaccinated according to the recommended CDC schedule, with the exception of the flu vaccine, which I have consistently declined because of its lack of efficacy. Neither of my children have experienced significant adverse reactions from being vaccinated.”